The Social Impact

Although use of social media for grocery shopping is only just beginning, we can already see the tremendous impact of a variety of platforms on consumer behavior. But only part of that influence is coming from retail or brand companies themselves.

In part 8 of Untangling the Social Web, the latest study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America, the Integer Group surveyed shoppers about how much they rely on social media for their shopping trips. The study found that more than one-fourth of supermarket purchases today reflect some influence, with the number expected to rise sharply in the near future.

Although a large number of shoppers follow local supermarkets on the web, especially via Facebook, most say the important influence is coming from friends, family and news sources. Shoppers say these are their primary sources for information, not brands or retailers directly.

More insights on the social web’s impact can be found in the study, a free download at http://www.ccrrc.org.

Also, hear my FMI Webinar “Key Steps to Business Social Media Success” at

https://fmi.adobeconnect.com/_a828399537/p8692ja0ii1/?launcher=false&fcsContent=true&pbMode=normal

Michael Sansolo
Research Director
Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America
http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

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Today is Only the Start

A challenge many businesses face in understanding the power of the social web is determining how important it could be in the future. The answer from part 8 of Untangling the Social Web, the latest study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America, is clear. (The study is available for a free download at http://www.ccrrc.org.)

The potential of the social web is huge.

Although the social web as we know it is only 10 years old, it already is a force in shaping shopping trips. More than one-third of shoppers say they use it regularly as a tool to simplify grocery shopping, while 57 percent use it for non-food shopping.

But that’s just the start. Shoppers say they would more heavily use the social web for grocery shopping if the content offered by retailers was more compelling. And either way, about half of those currently not engaged say that will change over the coming five years.

In other words, we could be looking at 55 to 65 percent of shoppers using the social web to plan shopping trips, menus and meals in just a few years, which means content and influence across all categories could grow substantially.

Additional insights from this study, including the impact of the retailers that created it, will be part of the council’s special presentation June 12 at FMI Connect 2014 in Chicago. More information about the presentation can be found at http://fmi14.mapyourshow.com/5_0/sessions/sessiondetails.cfm?ScheduledSessionID=1AA0

Michael Sansolo
Research Director
Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America
http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

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Attract More Business with a New Growth Platform

When a convenience retailer has a good handle on how to deliver the basics and is comfortable defending their turf, it is ready to attract more business. By deploying a new growth platform that reaches beyond shoppers’ grab and go needs, operators give customers an additional reason to visit. Such an effort could tap into consumers’ desire for food and beverages that are “a little better for you” or to take a short break during a hectic day.

The new “Get in the Game” report from the NACS / CCRRC reveals how three leading convenience retailers launched new growth platforms and achieved positive results.
• Two retailers moved to what the Council calls “the fresh value fast” platform, offering a new line of fresh food that gave shoppers the option to buy a salad, yogurt or “better for you” snack in addition to other foodservice offerings. These operators:
• Extended their stores’ appeal and sold new products with the help of new partners.
• Remerchandised their outlets to showcase the new product line.
• Increased net sales due to the new product line, appealing to new and existing customers.
• The other retailer highlighted female-friendly products already in the store, and made the entrance and in-store environment more inviting to women. These changes drove a significant increase in sales of select products without interfering with the operator’s ability to meet the needs of its traditional shoppers.

While some convenience retailers have shared with me their concern that the female-friendly growth platform may be hard to implement, this case study demonstrates it can be worth the effort. Want more inspiration? Get a complimentary copy of the “Get in the Game” report at http://www.ccrrc.org.

Bill Bishop

Research Director

NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council

Founder, Willard Bishop LLC and Chief Architect BrickMeetsClick

http://www.brickmeetsclick.com

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Going Social for Supermarket Shopping

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Shoppers surveyed for part 8 of Untangling the Social Web, the latest study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America, say the social web is now engrained in their habits and they only foresee greater use in the years to come.

According to the study, more than one-third of supermarket shoppers now acknowledge that the social web is part of their shopping trip — either before, during or after — yet the numbers suggest significant possibilities for growth.

For example, while 36 percent of shoppers use the social web while considering supermarket products, that’s nearly 10 percentage points less than those using it for shopping in general. But the gap could disappear quickly as more than half of those not using the social web for shopping expect their behavior to change in the near future.

Additional insights from this study, including the impact of the retailers that created it, will be part of the council’s special presentation June 12 at FMI Connect 2014 in Chicago. Copies of the study may be obtained for free at http://www.ccrrc.org.

Michael Sansolo
Research Director
Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America
http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

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Unlocking Opportunities with Shopper Research

GrowthPlatforms

“Get in the Game” — a new report from the NACS / CCRRC — showcases how convenience retailers use advice provided in the previously published Playbook for Success to defend their turf and attract new business. Based on in-depth research with thousands of operators, the three-step guide helps c-stores better align with and meet their customers’ needs.

“Get in the Game” highlights how some retailers use shopper research to “scout the opportunity” before executing an initiative. For example, it demonstrates that a simple survey, designed to identify shopper satisfaction, can guide an operator to develop an action plan that leads to success. Case studies include:

• A six-store convenience retailer, that found a survey to be “a simple and affordable way” to collect customer feedback, identified how to defend its existing business and strengthen several categories to grow sales.
• A forty-store chain that employed a survey discovered that although it received strong customer satisfaction scores, the business would benefit from working on the basics.

“Market basket missions,” another shopper research tool addressed in the latest report, analyzes the combination of products purchased during a transaction. This helps operators determine the needs customers wanted to satisfy on each visit and supports their merchandise planning activities.

Imagine how much more you could grow your business if you leveraged shopper research to focus your efforts. Learn how by reading the “Get in the Game” report available at no charge at http://www.ccrrc.org.

Bill Bishop

Research Director

NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council

Founder, Willard Bishop LLC and Chief Architect BrickMeetsClick

http://www.brickmeetsclick.com

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Making Friends

Winning over shoppers through the social web requires careful attention to all the best time-honored retail strategies, with recognition that discussions and connections are simply moving at new speed. The Integer Group, the firm handling this new study of the social web for the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council, offers up some key suggestions in the newest section of this report.

  1. Give shoppers a reason to like your brand on the social web. If you want to make connections in big numbers you need to provide benefits like special discounts or other promotions. And remember to make your web presence is interesting. There is a reason that pop stars have millions of followers and most stores do not.
  2. Be subtle with your marketing. Remember, this is about community and you want to be a trusted friend in places like Facebook. Market too hard and your connections may turn you off.
  3. Allow easy sharing of deals and information. It’s all about networking and you want your shopper friends to share the benefits they get with others to drive even more attention to you on the social web and at your stores.
  4. Recognize that shoppers like coupons and discount sites, so figure out how to engage in a productive way. Remember, your competition can be using sites like Groupon to build traffic and you need to keep a careful eye on all these activities.
  5. Don’t stop what you are doing. Your information and your page needs to be refreshed constantly so shoppers have a reason to come back time and again.

These insights and more can be found in the third section of this new study, easily downloaded at www.ccrrc.org. Just look for it in the section marked “North America.”

 

Michael Sansolo

Research Director

Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America

http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

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Is Social Networking Like High School?

Understanding how groups and connections form on social networking sites can be as simple as remembering the strange development of cliques and social circles in high school. People self-select into specific groupings and what they say can build or destroy reputations. Some groups are inclusive and some exclusive, plus fun and exciting people seem to attract a crowd.

It was that way in the high school cafeteria and it’s the same on the social web. Of course, there is one huge difference. High schools students are all roughly the same age and from a single geographic area, while the social web is far more diverse. The latest research finds that 15% of social web users are under the age of 18, 39% are between 18 and 34 and 46% are 35 and older.

Yet the social circles or areas of interest in the social web are very familiar. Users tend to find a fairly specific group of social media categories to spend their time:

  • Location—complete with localized reviews and guides
  • Networking—either professional or personal and increasingly reliant on mobile devices
  • Gaming—places for leisure
  • News and publications—for blogs, news updates and wikis
  • Sharing—photos, videos, music and links
  • Discussion—forums, FAQs and commentary
  • And, of course, commerce—for shopping, opinions, reviews and inspiration.

The two most widely used sites: Google and Facebook serve as a center for all this activity, helping users move from circle to circle depending on their needs and pointing the way to areas of activity.

What’s amazing about the whole arena of social networking is how quickly it has blossomed into a global phenomenon, since its invention in the 1990s. Even Facebook, by far the largest of all sites, began only eight years ago on a single college campus. Today it is cited as a global force for political change and certainly a level of societal connection never seen before.

Businesses seeking to get a sense of how to build a social networking strategy need to understand how the social web grew up and how it is developing. Details on both of these elements can be found in Part 1 of a recently released study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America. Check out the report, authored by The Integer Group, at www.ccrrc.org (under Councils – North America page) and look for additional sections and discussion of this new report.

Michael Sansolo

Research Director

Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America

http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

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A Single Shot of Sales Growth

Looking for a way to perk up sales and brew new profits. Forgive the silly hints, and think about morning coffee and the growing use of single-shot coffee makers.

Breakfast is the most routine meal of the day, with many people eating the same thing numerous times each week. For supermarket retailers, breakfast is an easy meal to take for granted since the bulk of traditional products reside mainly on supermarket shelves.

Except in recent years better-tasting coffee has become a huge reason why even economically pressed shoppers visit specialty shops multiple times a day. And that’s where the single-shot machines become so important.

As detailed in Eating In https://ccrrc.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Eating_In_2010.pdf , a study of meal patterns conducted by the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America, winning coffee time can be key to building breakfast sales. Those single-shot machines offer customers the opportunity for high quality Joe at an economical price.

Combine that with the potential to improve sales and customer loyalty, and single-shot coffee products provide multiple reasons for additional consideration by retailers.

Michael Sansolo

Research Director

Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America

http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

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Meiners Utilizes Playbook for Success Survey Tool

Meiners convenience stores first learned about the NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council Playbook for Success http://bit.ly/18FUtUp by reading about it in a trade publication. After being inspired, six months later the organization set things in motion and started to see the benefits.

According to my contact at Meiners, the company had been doing a good job meeting the needs of its customers, but wanted to hear what their shoppers had to say. While the owner/management team had never conducted shopper research, they were comfortable using the short survey provided in The Playbook for Success.

After interviewing a cross section of customers and employees, they learned there was great opportunity to expand their food service offering and keep up with competition. Today, Meiners is acting on that finding, ensuring their offerings are understood and appreciated by customers.

I believe The Playbook for Success helped Meiners take its first step with shopper research. This is exactly what the Council members hoped would happen when they started the project by saying we need to find ways to “ask customers what we can do to encourage them to spend more in our stores.”

Whether you’re ready to take your first step with shopper research or looking for a blueprint for growth, The Playbook for Success can help.

Bill Bishop

Research Director

NACS/Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council

Founder, Willard Bishop LLC and Chief Architect BrickMeetsClick

http://www.brickmeetsclick.com

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Improvement Begins at the Top

Getting to Great Cover Artwork 2

There’s a simple reason why some stores, or even department teams, work better than others: it all begins with leadership. A manager at any level has the ability to lift up or erode confidence.

Not surprisingly, superior managers produce a more loyal team, which in turn drives stronger sales and profits.

The steps toward even minor improvement are clearly outlined in Getting to Great, https://ccrrc.org/studies/getting-to-great-mapping-management-practices-that-drive-great-store-performance/ a study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America. The report, conceived by a group of retail executives, details the steps managers can take to improve their own performance and better lead their teams. It also outlines the results that can be achieved.

For instance, in stores with high employee loyalty, the staff is far more likely to work toward company goals and better engage with shoppers. Stores with poorly motivated teams do the opposite.

Getting to Great can help managers — at any level — identify their own areas of strength and set a path to improvement. The results can benefit everyone.

Michael Sansolo

Research Director

Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America

http://www.MichaelSansolo.comGetting to Great Cover Artwork

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